Category Archives: recommended design books

Beyond Eye-Candy

If you’re like me, when I get my hands on a design book I go straight for the eye-candy and pretty much skip the text. The information in so many books seems to be a repetition of what I’ve already read somewhere else. Besides, the pictures are just so much fun, I can ah! (love) or yow! (hate) to my heart’s content.

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English designer Terence Conran is an exception to my eye-candy-no text approach. Sir Terence Conran (he was knighted in 1983) has something important to say and says it beautifully. I have not read every book he has written (there are over fifty) but I own several and my favorite (so far) is Terence Conran’s Easy Living  published in 1999. He had me by the end of the introduction.

Here are a few excerpts:

…“this means taking where we are and who we are as starting points, not applying a set of arbitrary criteria dreamed up by somebody else. Only then can a home be a perfect fit, as comfortable as a favourite piece of clothing.”

“Easy living is about providing the means to experience things directly, without the distancing intervention of technology or the burden of too many possessions. This is a salutary lesson in an age when machines are assumed to be the panacea for many ills, delivering convenience at the touch of a button, and when acquiring more and more material goods has become an aim in itself.”

“I believe that where and how we live is fundamental to our well-being; such considerations are too important to be sidelined into a holiday break and sidestepped the rest of the year.”

And that’s just from the introduction…

Easy Living made me think, made me consider, shifted my perspective, brought order to confusion, and understanding to uncertainty. It’s about comfort and function and beauty, authenticity and quality of living. It’s about so much more than just creating eye-candy.

If you read only one book on interior design this would be the one. And because it deals with basics and fundamentals it will never be outdated despite its 1999 copyright. His philosophies will work 100 years from now…200 years…

Excerpts from chapter one:

“The home is an emotional concept as much as a physical, serviced structure….”

“Providing the essential psychological context for enjoying everyday life is often a question of getting the physical framework in order. This means thinking about your home in a basic, elemental way.” 

Oh, and did I mention, there’s eye-candy as well.

Copies of Terence Conran’s Easy Living are available for under $5.00 at Amazon.

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